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Feeling like one while being many littleone

Posted by Pfinstegg on August 30, 2005, at 12:29:54

In reply to Re: Progress with the Ego States... Pfinstegg, posted by littleone on August 29, 2005, at 22:07:11

Hi. I have been reading a lot in neuroscience and psychoanalysis- to help myself understand my own situation better- and to learn what people in these fields are currently thinking about how the mind works, and who we really are. I've been noticing, over and over, that the most modern thinking includes the general concept that our minds are made up of many parts. If there isn't a lot of trauma and pain in one's childhood, these parts are generally quite naturally integrated. The more trauma one has, the more your adult mind separates from the parts bearing the traumatic memories. This is adaptive, as it enables you to start off your adult life with the most hope, trust and confidence possible. But the parts bearing the experiences of trauma, pain, distress, etc. tend to keep breaking through, and giving you feelings of fear and sadness, even, or often, when things are going well in adult life. I have been very blessed in life- with a good husband, two wonderful sons, a career which has been successful and rewarding, a lot of good friends- and still, these negative feelings began breaking through more and more, until I became clinically very depressed and anxious. I knew I had a history of abuse, but I was just determined it wasn't going to ruin my life. That's where the ego states come in-they are carrying all those feeling and memories for the adult you, and they want to be heard and known, too.

I do agree that no-one wants to know that they have these separate, pain-carrying parts inside themselves. I know I was very fearful that they would "take over" and make it impossible for the adult me to keep on functioning the way I had been doing. I have days when I still feel fearful of that. But the opposite is actually true- the power the parts have to cause pain lessens when the parts themselves become more conscious, and their pain is listened to and validated. It's a slow process- much slower than one wants! But it can help so much.

If your therapist thinks that you have parts, or ego-states, holding unconscious memories of neglect and/or abuse, he may be right. You and he, together, are not going to find anything that isn't there. And it will be a new and healing experience for any until now unknown parts which you may have to enter into a trusting experience of being heard and understood.

With ego states, there definitely is such a thing as feeling worse before you feel better. You do begin to feel their pain more intensely. But we all came into therapy because of poorly understood pain and suffering. If you can, try to approach the whole process with as much hope and trust as you can, keeping in mind that it can be a truly healing experience. I have had to tell myself the same thing many, many days! Your biggest assets are going to be an open, exploratory frame of mind, and as much trust in your therapist as you can muster. It's only now, after two and a half years, that I am beginning to know that discovering and sharing these ego-states with one's therapist is such a huge relief- and so healing.




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